Aidlink welcomes the Irish Governments decision to declare a Climate Emergency.

Following the footsteps of the UK’s decision last week, Ireland is the second country in the world to declare a Climate Emergency. This recognition of the severity of climate change and the commitment to prioritising action to combat the greatest challenge facing humanity comes at a critical time.

Ireland’s Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton stated that “we’re reaching a tipping point in respect of climate deterioration…things will deteriorate very rapidly unless we move very swiftly and the window of opportunity to do that is fast closing.”

Aidlink have seen first-hand the effects of climate change on communities we work with. The effects of climate change are already a daily reality for people in our target counties of Turkana and Kajiado in Kenya, with severe droughts now taking place every 2-3 years where previously it was every 10-15. Communities are unable to recover sufficiently before the next drought crisis hits. This has the most severe impact on children, particularly girls.

Children are denied an education as they are forced to travel for kilometers in search of water. Boys are forced to leave school to herd the animals and girls are married off for dowries or even betrothed on credit.

Today, in Turkana, the latest drought means that children are walking for up to 4 hours each day to collect water. The drought there has left over half a million people facing acute hunger. Aidlink is working on the ground and has launched an appeal for funds to respond to this crisis with an Emergency School Feeding Programme.

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While this is a short-term response in response to an immediate crisis, real change will require coordinated policy and efforts on a global stage to reduce carbon emissions, implement the Paris Accord, and limit global warming.

We hope that other countries will follow the example set by the Irish and UK governments and commit to prioritising our planet and humanity.

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